In our minds, we create a separation between our oral health and the condition of the rest of our body. But, in reality, the two are one and the same. Our mouths are our bodies. And therefore, what goes on inside them affects everything else.
Pneumonia is a lung condition that occurs when certain bacteria can thrive in the alveoli - the little sacs that allow them to transfer air between the airways themselves and the surrounding bloodstream. It typically occurs in older people and those with weakened immune systems. But it is also more common in people with poor oral health. Bacteria in the mouth get pulled into the lungs, leading to secondary infections. Over time, these can develop into full-blown pneumonia.
Poor oral health is also implicated in cardiovascular disease, according to https://www.mayoclinic.org/. Researchers don’t fully understand the connection yet. But they think that it might have to do with the way bacteria in the mouth affect plaque formation in the arteries. The more inflammation there is in the mouth, it seems, the more likely the body is to react and respond, growing plaque tissues over injured parts of the blood vessel lining. The poorer a person’s oral health, the more unstable these plaques become, putting them at higher risk of heart disease.
Even more worryingly, poor oral health may cause certain birth complications to occur. For instance, women with periodontitis are much more likely to have premature children with low birth weight.
You don’t often hear about infected heart disease because it’s so rare. But it can happen. It occurs when the lining of the heart becomes infested with germs that have travelled through the gums into the bloodstream. In some cases, there are so many of them, the body can’t clear them quickly enough from the internal organs, leading to additional infections.
How To Protect Yourself
Given that the consequences of poor oral health are so bad, is there anything you can do to protect yourself?
Well, it turns out, according to http://hillavenuedental.net/, that you can. For starters, you’ll want to start brushing your teeth at least twice per day and following all your dentist’s recommendations.
But you’ll also want to make sure that you eat a healthy diet. If you eat a lot of sugar, that dramatically increases the likelihood of developing gum disease - and that’s where the trouble starts. Also, be sure to eat more anti-inflammatory foods. The less inflammation you have in your body, the more robust your gum line.
Remember, existing health conditions can actually make oral health worse. For instance, if you have diabetes, you are less resistant to infection. As a consequence, gum disease is much more likely to appear.
Osteoporosis is also associated with bone and tooth loss. So while the condition itself doesn’t lead to infection or foster the growth of bacteria, it can lead to situations, such as open sockets, where that is more likely to occur.
So, as always, it’s a good idea to get regular checkups and ensure that your oral health isn’t putting the rest of your body at risk.